Economics, MA

Program Category: MA Programs
Chair: Michael Woodford
Director of Graduate Studies: Navin Kartik
Degree Programs: Full-Time: Free-Standing MA
Director of MA Program: Bernard Salanié

The free-standing MA program in Economics is intended for students who wish to improve their knowledge of economic theory and its applications, but who plan to pursue only the MA degree. The free-standing MA program may also be of interest to students seeking further training in economics before deciding whether to pursue a PhD in economics. Students interested in earning a PhD are advised to apply to the PhD program directly.

The MA program has been designed to provide a technical and rigorous approach to the study of economic theory. At the same time, the program offers students the flexibility to take field electives in order to tailor their programs of study to their academic and professional goals. We welcome applications from all students who would like to pursue a free-standing MA degree in Economics at Columbia University. Admission to the MA program is limited to highly-qualified applicants, and study must be undertaken on a full-time basis.

The MA program in Economics requires successful completion of 22 credits through eight core classes and 9 credits through the program elective classes. Students satisfy the course requirements for the MA degree in three semesters: four required classes in the first fall semester, three required classes in the following spring semester, one required class in the second fall semester, and electives completed between the spring and second fall semesters. In addition, each student will be required to complete a research paper by the end of the third semester. The research paper will have to demonstrate mastery of the field, along with the ability to think originally and to convey results clearly in writing.

Special Admissions Requirements

An undergraduate degree in economics is not required for admission to the MA program, but a strong background in undergraduate economics is highly recommended (principles of economics, intermediate microeconomics, and intermediate macroeconomics). Substantial training in college-level calculus and statistics is also recommended (multivariate calculus, linear algebra, and statistics). Applicants will be evaluated on the quality and breadth of their undergraduate preparation for the study of economics at the graduate level.

In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a statement of academic purpose, a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation from academic sources.

All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS.

For more information, refer to the Admissions Information and Frequently Asked Questions pages.

*GSAS will accept up to four recommendations, regardless of the number required by your program of interest. However, to be eligible for admission at GSAS, at least TWO letters must be submitted by academic recommenders.